No open tender for new Aus submarines | Fin24
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No open tender for new Aus submarines

Dec 02 2014 14:15

Sydney - Government officials said on Tuesday that Australia would not hold an open tender to replace its ageing Collins-class submarines.

The decision could bolster Japan's position as the likely builder of the new multibillion-dollar fleet.

Reuters reported in September that Australia was leaning towards buying as many as 12 off-the-shelf stealth submarines from Japan despite fierce domestic opposition to buying the vessels abroad instead of building them at home.

Australia did not have time for an open bidding process, said treasurer Joe Hockey.

"We need to make decisions now and we don't have time to go through a speculation process. We do not have time for people to suggest that they can build something that hasn't been built," he said.

Labour unions

A spokesperson for Defence Minister David Johnston said no manufacturer had yet been chosen, but confirmed that an open tender was off the table.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott had previously pledged the submarines would be built in South Australia, where unemployment exceeds the national average, but his government began back-pedalling in July, signalling cost and schedule were paramount. Since then, pressure has mounted on Abbott from regional officials, labour unions and members of his own party to have a competitive tender.

Sources said Australia was strongly considering a replacement for the Collins based on the 4 000-ton Soryu-class ships built by Japan's Mitsubishi and Kawasaki companies.

Swedish defence firm Saab, France's state-controlled naval contractor DCNS and Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems have all expressed interest.

mitsubishi  |  kawasaki  |  saab  |  australia


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